TalkAndroid Staff Picks: Best of CES 2013

I think we can all agree that mobile isn’t the focal point for the Consumer Electronics Show since it deals with all consumer electronics. Even so, there was still a lot of cool stuff announced, and the question is what’s the best of the best (for mobile)? We had new devices from Sony, Huawei, and ZTE as well as processors from Samsung, Qualcomm, and NVIDIA, not to mention other hardware like tablets, gaming controllers, gaming systems, and even Google TV.

Before we get into it, I want to thank my entire staff for the hard word this past week, especially our Editor, Roy Alugbue. I was the only one on the show floor and we managed to churn out 45 hands on videos along with a bunch of other announcements and stories. Roy kept the train moving, and our team delivered in a way that we’ve never done before. I am proud of everyone and already looking forward to next year. If you’ve missed any of our coverage, be sure to click here.

Now that the show floor is closed, it’s time for each of us to pick the cream of the crop so hit the break to find out.


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A look at the upcoming nabi Battle Kinabi figures utilizing NFC on the nabi XD for tweens [Video]

Fuhu has really stepped up their game since the introduction of the original nabi tablet. The upcoming nabi XD will sport NFC and they have come up with a role playing game using Battle Kinabi figures. Each character will come with its own profile that will be tied to an NFC chip. By touching the characters to the XD tablet, it will load all the levels, defense/offense moves, and more that have been earned by playing the game. You will be able to change characters at any time or even share with your friends. Hit the break for a look at the characters and the concept.

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Hands on with the latest wireless charging technologies from the Alliance For Wireless Power [Video]

A couple of days ago we reported on new wireless technologies from the Alliance For Wireless Power (A4WP). Wireless charging isn’t anything new, but one thing we can all agree on is that it hasn’t been widely adopted. Actually there is second thing we can agree on and that’s that we really want it. The problem is there really hasn’t been a standard and current pads are too clunky.

The Alliance For Wireless Power consists of key members from the tech community including Qualcomm, Samsung, Powermat, Texas Instruments, and others. Their goal is to bring a format along with marketing that will hopefully push wireless charging to the next level and then some. I had a chance to sit down with key members from the alliance as well as some of the top writers in the tech community to get a demo utilizing a newer technology that utilizes Bluetooth 4.0 LE. They chose it because Bluetooth is already widely adopted so it’s a natural fit.


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Hands on with Qualcomm Vuforia Augmented Reality based apps [Video]

Last year I had a chance to see what Qualcomm Vuforia was doing with augmented reality, and I was so impressed that I had to see where things are 12 months later. To refresh your memory, Vuforia was created by Qualcomm for developers that want to utilize augmented reality in their apps. Things are going pretty well as there are over 2,500 apps available (Android and iOS) from developers in 130 countries, and there are over 40,000 registered developers. Last year we saw an app from Sesame Street, and this year they are back with a really cool educational app that I know my son is going to love. They also showed off what can be done for med students and retail catalogs. Check out the video after the break


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Hands on with the Qualcomm Labs Gimbal Platform for making apps more personalized [Video]

I had a chance to meet with Qualcomm Smart Labs to take a look at the Gimbal platform. It’s a context aware platform for Android and iOS that enables developers to deliver content in a more personalized way and more importantly, timely. It allows apps to be more of a personal assistant or a “sixth sense”. An example might be that when you show up at the mall, you could be offered deals or tips. That’s nothing new, but since it’s more of a personal assistant, it knows about you. So if you’re a male, you will get deals for stores pertaining to men, but it will also learn your likes so it will be further fine tuned. It’s kind of like Google Now, and we should see a lot more of these types of apps in the future. Qualcomm’s Gimbal can be utilized by any developer for any app, which makes the possibilities endless. Just check out the hands on video after the break.


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Ford releases OpenXC SDK for Android applications for vehicles

This is definitely one of the more unique things to pop up at CES this year. Ford is releasing an OpenXC SDK to allow Android apps to access the sensor data in Ford vehicles and spur the growth of aftermarket accessories and software. There’s are already parts and the SDK available that allow a device to access sensor information via USB or Bluetooth, which could be anything from the GPS to the vehicle’s speed. Best of all, all of the hardware components are external from the car, so there’s no messy installation to worry about. I think it’ll take a while for this to really catch on, but before long I imagine we’ll see some really cool uses for it, and hopefully more similar programs from other OEMs. Hit the break for the press release, and be sure to check out the rest of our CES coverage here.
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Hands on with the PowerA MOGA Pro gaming controller [Video]

PowerA released the MOGA gaming controller for Android phones late last year, which is the perfect on the go controller to turn your Android phone into a mini gaming system. Now at CES they are stepping it up a notch with the MOGA Pro gaming controller. PowerA built this controller around their Fusion controller for consoles, which is one of the finest gaming controllers available today. The MOGA Pro will cater to serious gamers and it includes higher quality sticks as well as a a second pair of triggers. It also has a rechargeable battery as opposed to the MOGA that runs on 2 AA batteries. Thankfully it charges using any microUSB cable, which will make things easier on the go. Just like the MOGA, the MOGA Pro will fit Android phones of various sizes including the Galaxy Note II. Now I know a lot of you like to play your games on a tablet, and MOGA put together a really nice foldable kickstand for your tablet. It will come with the MOGA Pro and it will prop up your tablet for easy gaming.

You will probably be able to buy the MOGA Pro within the next couple of months. No word on pricing yet, but hit the break to check out the hands on video. I think you will agree that this just might be the finest controller for Android.


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Samsung’s CES 2013 keynote now available to watch online

Missed out on Samsung’s Exynos 5 Octa and flexible display announcements? There’s no need to worry, the whole event is now available to stream over the intrawebs. While there may have not been too many Android-related announcements, most of the technology on tap will inevitably make its way into the palm of our hands in the near future. Hit the break to watch the full 1-hour video.
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Hands on with the Hisense U958 smartphone [Video]

 

Hisense took some time to highlight its U958 smartphone here at CES for you folks and you know that we had to get up close and personal by getting some hands-on time with the device. As you can see clearly, the first thing that stands out is the gorgeous 4.5-inch IPS display complimenting 9.5mm-thin device, as well as the zippy Android interface thanks to the dual-core Qualcomm processor. While the 4GB of on-board storage and meager 512MB of RAM leaves a lot to be desired,the U958 smartphone at least features a fairly stock build of Android, so that’s always a plus.

The device is available in various markets around the world, but should be making its way to the States sooner than later. While we wait for the device though– be sure to hit past the break to check out our full hands-on of the device.

 


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Hands on with EFun Nextbook 7-inch and 8-inch tablets [Video]

In case you didn’t notice, the tablet space is becoming very crowded. Yet another entry into the market is EFun, who announced their new 7-inch tablet last week in the days leading up to CES 2013. EFun was on hand showing off both 7-inch and 8-inch versions of their tablets going by the model name “Nextbook.” In our interview with them, EFun indicated they are working on a 10.1-inch model as well. The 7- and 8-inch versions come with 1.5 dual-core processors, 8GB of storage, and run Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. EFun expects the devices to be available starting in March 2013 with pricing set for $129 for the 7-inch model and $169 for the 8-inch model. Check out our hands on video after the break.
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